After several days of not feeling too good and having a house full of people and cats, I woke up this morning for the first time in 3 days without pain searing through my head and making my eyes feel like they're on fire. The relief lasted only until I read some blogs and news stories.
A quick round up of how bad it is in the world today...
Having submitted to international pressure The Islamic Regime of Iran (The IRI) had agreed not to 'stone' to death Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43 year old mother of two. It looked likely that she would instead face death by hanging for the crime she has been convicted of. The crime being adultery. This announcement was no victory but it was a step towards ending the barbaric practise if stoning people to death. This morning I was sent a message with a link to an article that stated that The IRI had taken a stand and would in fact go ahead with Sakineh's original sentence of stoning, and also that this is not only for the crime of adultery but also the crime of the murder of her husband. This is a charge that has never previously been mentioned in connection with Sakineh and it seems now to be a last ditch attempt or excuse to justify her murder sentence.
I also learnt that in the same city in Iran where Sakineh is being held a 26 year old woman has been punished for refusing to conform to The Islamic dress code (wearing a hijab). Elnaz Babazadeh was stopped by the local authorities and when she refused to conform to the dress code three agents jumped into her car, threatened her with a gun, raped her, executed her and dumped her body near a cemetery.
Next I find out that in that city alone The IRI will also be stoning a pregnant woman, will be hanging 18 people for the 'crime' of homosexuality, have been carrying out mock stonings on a teenager in preparation for the real thing and are holding a large number of juvenile 'offenders' on death row. All this from a country that has recently been awarded a seat on The UN Commission on the Status of Women??
While The IRI is clearly a gender-apartheidist regime that controls it's people with fear, violence, rape and torture, it is not only women and children who are targeted. As a result of the high profile campaign started by Mission Free Iran to prevent the stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, MFI have received another letter from Iran begging for help from the international community. This letter is sent at great risk to the family of those involved and shows how desperate they are for help. The letter was sent by the Mother and younger brother of a community and human rights worker named Behnam Ebrahimzadeh. He has been tortured and imprisoned by The IRI and his family now fear for his life as he languishes in an Iranian prison without access to medical treatment for the broken bones he sustained during his arrest and torture.
Also in today's news, 37 year old William L. Garner was executed at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville. He died by lethal injection at 10.38am local time. Garner became the 6th condemned inmate to be executed in Ohio this year and the 39th overall since capital punishment resumed in 1999. He also became the 31st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1219th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
If you wish to become involved with any of the many campaigns to help with any of the issues I have mentioned today then please visit some of the links and blogs posted below. They are also a great source of information if you want to find out more about anything I have mentioned.
Just to show that there is some hope in this world for true equality, the UK announced on Wednesday that it will now consider cases of asylum for people fleeing countries due to fear of violence or prosecution because of their sexuality. In some ways it's a small step, but it is long overdue and for me it was a reminder that if we keep working we will see change. It reminds me never to stop until that day has come. I was also overwhelmed by the blogs, videos and pictures from all over the world showing global acts of solidarity on Sunday's International Day Against Stoning. Please check them out in the links below.